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where bacteria can collect and grow and bacteria can cause bad breath that's why i recommend replacing toothpaste with polident only polident is proven to clean without scratching and kills 99.9% of odor causing bacteria don't scratch your dentures clean use polident every day >> live, local, late breaking to buy this is wbal tv 11 news in hd. -- late breaking, this is wbal to 11 news and hd. >> several students take the plunge. good afternoon, everyone. we will go live to the polar bear plunge in just a few minutes. but first, our big story this afternoon, president obama in baltimore today. debra wiener is live in highlandtown with a preview of
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his speech to republicans and a gop retreat. >> before he went on to that retreat, which he probably will be arriving there now, he spent about 10 minutes here. i wish you could have seen the flurry of policing and tripping and cleaning here. it was the backdrop for the presidential visit and a plan to highlight small business. the president arrived at at -- arrived about an hour ago and he was visiting the chesapeake machine shop. if you have never heard of it, it is very much put on the map now by this visit. it has fewer than 50 employees. we have heard that the administration has been small business shopping in the area in the la
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2003. gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 5.7% during the first quarter -- the fourth quarter, easily topping economists' forecasts. in less than a week, city council president stephanie rawlings-plank will be sworn in as mayor of baltimore, for the inventor of a $127 million budget deficit. today, she spoke on the radio to offer some solutions to the looming budget shortfall. [no audio] >> thank you, i'm going to be asking agencies to make
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significant cuts. i'm going to need the support of the public and a real sense of partnership among agencies and departments. i think it is important to start with the mayor's office. >> rawlings-blake says she is also looking at ways to attract small businesses to baltimore. residents in one neighborhood are fuming over parking problems. the city have been parking partially on the sidewalk for more than four decades. they say they have to park that way because the streets are too narrow for emergency vehicles, school buses and other large vehicles. twice this week, every car parked on the curb was ticketed. it prompted a heated meeting with transportation officials. >> you have to change the law. i cannot give you a waiver over the lot. >> it is a huge issue, especially for emergency vehicles.
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it was never an issue to the neighbors that no one could use the sidewalk. >> city officials said they will work with residents to resolve the problem. they say no more tickets will be issued in the meantime. >> we have been hearing about this since last weekend, a new storm approaching. it looks like it will be a big win, but south of us. that is the trend showing up. here we see the clouds beginning to come in over baltimore from the west. the darker gray shades you see a movie out there in west virginia, kentucky, southwest virginia, that is the first of the storm. it is pretty light and beginning to edge into the area. the air is pretty dry moving into the mountains of virginia. much of it is not even hitting the ground at this stage. but it is a storm approaching and it is coming into some cold air. temperatures in the baltimore area, our ratings have climbed to the mid 20's.
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24 degrees at last check. we will tell you about what is coming up this weekend. >> the polar bear plunge may not be until tomorrow, but the super plungers are already at it this year. they are being joined by students across the state. robert roblin joins us live with more. >> i am with tim tooten and he is cold. >> i told some kids behind it, you take care of mr. tooten now, and they did. i proved my point. i got in there. but we need some money. and thank you for all of your coaching. >> i know your wife was worried. >> oh, she was. >> how are you doing? >> super plunger with a bad leg.
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are you all right? >> i am doing all right. i have got a brace and is working perfectly. the water is so cold, isn't it? [laughter] >> to mike and eric, thank you for hosting me. it thank you to all of you for receiving me. it is wonderful to be your. i also want to acknowledge the president of the congressional institute, and all of the family members who are here and have to put up with us who are in elective office each and every day. thank you, because i know it is tough. [applause] i very much am appreciative of not only the tone of your introduction, john, but also the invitation that you extended to me. you know what they say, keep your friends close, but visit the republican caucus every few months. [laughter] part of the reason i accepted
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your invitation to come here was because i want to speak with all of you, and not just to all of you. i am looking forward to taking your questions and having a real conversation in a few moments. i hope that the conversation we begin here does not end here, that we can continue our dialogue in the days ahead. it is important to me that we do so. it is important to you, i think, that we do so, but most importantly, it is important to the american people that we do so. i have said this before, but i am a believer not just in the value of a loyal opposition, but in its necessity. having differences of opinion, having a real debate about matters of domestic policy and national security, that is not something that is only good for our country. it's absolutely essential. it is only through the process of disagreement and debate that bad ideas get tossed out and good ideas get refined and made better. it that kind of rigorous back
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and forth is at the heart of our democracy. it is what makes us the greatest nation in the world. yes, i want you to challenge my ideas, and i guarantee you that after reading this, in a challenge a few of yours. -- reading this, i may challenge a few doors. i want you to stand up for your beliefs. i want us to have a constructive debate. the only thing i do not want -- and i am listening to the american people and i do not think they want it either -- is for washington to continue being so washington -- like. -- so washington-like. i know that folks spend a lot of time reading the polls and looking at focus groups and interpreting which party has the upper hand in november and in 2012 and so on and so on and so
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on. that is their obsession. and i am not a pundit. i'm just the president. take it for what it is worth. but i do not believe the american people want us to focus on our job security. they want us to focus on their job security. [applause] i do not think they want more gridlock. i do not think they want more partisanship. i do not think they want more obstruction. they said as to washington -- they did not send us to washington to fight each other in some sort of political steel cage match to see who comes out alive. that is not what they want. they said as to washington to work together, to get things done, and to solve the problems that they are grappling with every day. and i think your constituents would want to know that despite the fact that it does not get a lot of attention, you and i have
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actually worked together on a number of occasions. there have been times when we have acted in a bipartisan fashion. and i want to thank you and your democratic colleagues for reaching across the aisle. there has been, for example, broad support for putting in the troops necessary in afghanistan to deny al qaeda safe haven. to break the taliban's momentum and to train afghan security forces. there has been broad support for disrupting, dismantling and defeating al qaeda. and i know we share in admiration of our troops. [applause] it may be useful for the international audience right now to understand, and certainly, for our enemies to have no doubt that wurzburg divisions and differences exist in washington, the not -- that wherever divisions and differences may exist in washington, the united states of america stands united as one country. [applause]
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it is that same spirit of bipartisanship that made it possible for me to sign a defense contract into a reform bill that was co-sponsored by senator mccain and members of congress here today. we have stood together on behalf of our nation's veterans. together, we passed the largest increase in the va is budget in more than 40 years and supported health care reforms to provide better access and medical care for those who served in uniform. some of you also supported credit card bill of rights in support of compensation for those americans that are out of work. and some of you supported stopping tobacco companies from targeting kids come expanding opportunities for those who serve our country, and helping responsible homeowners stay in
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their homes. we have a track record of working together. it is possible. but as, john, as you mentioned, on some very big things, we have seen some party-line votes that i'm just going to be honest, were disappointing. let's start with our efforts to jump-start the economy last winter when we producing 700,000 jobs a month. our financial system teetered on the brink of collapse and the threat of a second great collette -- the great depression loomed large. i did not understand then and i still do not understand why we have opposition in this caucus for almost $300 billion in badly needed tax cuts for the american people, or cobra coverage to help americans who have lost jobs in this recession to keep the health insurance that they desperately needed, or opposition to putting americans to work laying broadband, rebuilding roads and bridges, and breaking ground on new
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construction projects. there was an interesting headline on cnn today, americans disapprove of stimulus, but like every policy in it. and there is a poll that shows that if you broke it down into its component parts from 80% approved of the tax cuts, 80% approved of the infrastructure, 80% approved of the assistance to the unemployed. that is what the recovery act was. and let's face it, some of you have been at the ribbon cuttings for some of these important projects in your communities. i understand some of you have some philosophical differences, perhaps, on the concept of government spending, but as i recall, opposition was declared before we had a chance to actually meet and exchange ideas. i saw that as a missed opportunity. i am happy to report this morning that we saw another sign
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that our economy is moving in the right direction. the latest gdp numbers show that our economy is growing by almost 6%. that is the most since 2003. to put that in perspective, this time last year, we were not seen positive job growth. we were seeing the economy shrank by about 6%. you have seen a 12% reversal during the course of this year. this turnaround is the biggest in nearly three decades, and it did not happen by accident. it happened as economists, conservative and liberal, will attest because of some of the steps that we took. and by the way, you mentioned a website out here, john. if you want to look at what is going on with the recovery act, you can go to recovery? -- what is required by all of us,
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democrats and republicans, is to do what is right by our country, even if it is not always what is best for our politics. i know it may be years he to say this, but there are things more -- it may be heresy to say this, but there are things more important than good poll numbers. no one can accuse me of not living by my principles. the middle class is back on its feet, an economy that lives every one of, an america that is ascendant in the world -- that is more important than winning an election. our future should not be shaped by what is best for our politics, or politics should be shaped by what is best for our future. but no matter what has happened in the past, the important thing is for all of us to move forward together. we have some issues right in front of us on which i think we should agree because we have been successful at spurring new economic growth. everyone understands that job growth has been lagging.
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some of that is predictable. every economist will save jobs are a lagging indicator. but that is no consolation for the folks that are out there suffering right now, some 7 million americans who have lost their jobs in this recession. we have to do everything we can to accelerate it. so today, in light of the state of the union, i propose a new tax credit for small business. employers would get a tax credit for up to $5,000 for every employee data in 2010. they would get a tax break for increases -- for every employee day ad in 2010. they would get a tax break for increases in wages as well. we would refund the payroll tax for every dollar they spend faster than inflation. it would cut taxes for more than 1 million small businesses. i hope you join me. let's get this done.
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i want to eliminate the capital gains tax for small business investment and take out some of the bailout money for wall street banks and use it to help lending to small businesses again. join me. i am confident that we can do this, together for the american people and there's nothing in that proposal that runs contrary to the ideological positions of this caucus. the question is, what is going to keep us from getting this done? i propose a modest fee on the nation's largest banks and financial institutions to fully recover the taxpayers' money that they provided to the financial sector when it was teetering on the brink of collapse. and it is designed to discourage them from taking reckless risks in the future. if you listen to the american people, john, they will tell you they want their money back. let's do this together. republicans and democrats. i propose that we close tax
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proposals -- tax loopholes for american companies shipping jobs overseas, and instead, give companies greater incentives to create jobs here at home charlie, that is something that we can do together, republicans and -- here at home. surely, that is something that we can do together, republicans and democrats. i proposed a three-year freeze in discretionary spending other than what we need for national security. that is something that we should do together. that is consistent with a lot of the talk, both in democratic caucuses and republican caucuses. we cannot link when it is time to actually do the job. -- we cannot blink when it's time to actually do the job. at this point we know that the budget surplus of the 1990's came in part because of the pay- as-you-go. we said you should pay as you go and live within our means, just like families do every day.
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we're able to pass it in the senate yesterday -- we were able to pass it in the senate yesterday. but the idea of a bipartisan fiscal commission died in the senate the other day. i'm going to establish a fiscal commission order and i hope that you participate genuinely. if we're going to actually deal with our deficit and debt, everybody here knows that we will have to do it together, republican and democrat. no single party is going to make the tough choices involved on its own. it is going to require all of us doing what is right for the american people. as i said in a state of the union speech, there is not just a deficit of dollars in washington, but a deficit of trust. i hope you will support my proposal to make all congressional earmarks public before they come to a vote.
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let's require lobbyists to exercise such influence to publicly disclose all their contacts on behalf of their clients, whether they are contacts with my administration or contacts with congress. let's do the people's business in the bright light of day together. republicans and democrats. i know how bitter and contentious the issue of health insurance reform has become. and i will eagerly look at the ideas and better solutions on the health care front. if anyone here truly believes our health insurance system is working well for people, i respect your right to say so. but i just do not agree, and neither would millipede -- millions of americans with pre- existing conditions that cannot get coverage today or find out they are losing their insurance just as they get seriously ill. that is exactly when you need insurance and, for too many people, they are not getting it.
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i do not think it is working with small businesses are gouged and 15,000 americans are losing coverage every day. when premiums have doubled and out of pocket costs have exploded and are poised to do so again to be fair -- to do so again. to be fair, the status quo is working for the insurance company-insurance industry. but is not working for the american people or for the federal budget. this needs to change. this is a big problem and all of us are called on to solve it. and that is why from the start i sought out and supported ideas from republicans. i even talked about an issue that had been a holy grail for a lot of you, which was toward reform, and i said we could work together as part of the -- which was tort reform, and i said we could work together as part of a comprehensive package. i did not get a lot of nibbles. creating a high risk pool for those with pre-existing conditions.
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that was senator mccain oppose the idea and i incorporated it into our approach. -- that with senator mccain's idea and i incorporated into our approach. bring down costs for businesses and consumers, that is an idea that i suspect some of you wanted as a solution and it was incorporated in our package. i supported that we do it hand- in-hand for broader reforms to protect the american people. the number he wanted pools to provide insurance to small business owners. i supported that. some of you supported keeping children on their parents' insurance until they're 25 or 26. i supported that. i supported other ideas from creating catastrophic insurance options for young people that came from the center from
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olympia in the senate, and others of you as well. bipartisanship not for its own sake, but to solve problems, that is what our constituents, the american people, need from us right now. all of us have a choice to make and we have to choose whether we're going to be politicians first or partners for progress. whether we are. to put success -- whether we are going to put success at the polls ahead of lasting success and achievement for americans. we do not have to put it up for a vote today. let me close by saying this, i was not elected by democrats or republicans, but by the american people. that is especially true because the fastest growing group of americans are independent spirit that should tell us both something. -- our independencare independe.
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that should tell us both something. but if we cannot move beyond the politics of know, if resistance supplants constructive debate, i still have to meet my obligations as president. i have to act for the greater good because that, too, is a commitment that i have made and that, too, is what the american people have set me to washington to do. i am optimistic. i know many of you individually, and the irony, i think, of our political climate right now is that compared to other countries, the differences between the two major parties on most issues is not as big as it is represented. but we have gotten caught up in the political game in a way that is not healthy. it is dividing our country in ways that are preventing us from meeting the challenges of the
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21st century. i am hopeful that the conversation we have today can help reverse that. thank you very much. [applause] >> u.f. the listing to
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who are better drivers, men or women? men don't merge. the woman will sit there and wait. this is what men do. you see where i am over here? and, ka-blam, and then we're all an hour late. depend brand. for women and men. >> we are going to go back live to debra winger in highlandtown. what did you make of the president's speech? >> mittal dena here is a welder
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-- before i react to the president's speech, michel dena here is a welder and three days ago he did not think that he would have a chance to react to the president's speech, and now he has a signed copy of " anthony" -- "ebony." >> he came to discuss incentives to small businesses and he was explaining it to us in his speech today. i will never forget this. it will always be in my memory. i have an opportunity to give that to my son and my daughter. >> we have a lot going on around us. this is a very busy corner in highlandtown. when you heard a few days ago that he was coming to town to talk about initiatives, did you think, that cannot be? >> yeah, we're all

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